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The Bauls of Bengal

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Known for their highly spiritual singing for at least 700 years, the Bauls of Bengal is the collective name for several ensembles who reside in the Hindu and Muslim communities of Bengal. The Bauls of Bengal have gone through little change since the days of Baul singer Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the 13th century and Baul songwriter Lalon Phaki (1774 -1890). Although they traditionally wandered from village to village supporting their humble lifestyle with tips, most Bauls now live in small huts. While they are not supposed to have children, many adopt youngsters who are taught the musical traditions. The songs of the Bauls, which focus on the separation between the souls of man and spiritual ground, are accompanied by ektara (one-stringed lute), dougi (small, hand-held, drum), dutara (four-stringed lute), kol (two-skinned drum), bamboo flute, cymbals, and bells that are worn on the feet of the musicians. ~ Craig Harris

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